We are, and especially you are, the generation that is going to have to help us make sense of this [pandemic] and recover afterwards. What new forms might you invent to fictionalize an event like this where all of the drama is happening in private, essentially. Are you keeping record of the emails, and texts you are getting. The thoughts you’re having. The way your hearts and minds are reacting to this strange new way of living.
– George Saunders, a letter to his graduate students at Syracuse University, March 2020.
With much of photography being concerned with the eye and how it perceives, Vancouver-based, Philippine-born artist Rydel Cerezo refocuses our attention to the idiom Back of My Hand in this virtual exhibition. Cerezo carries his camera taking medium format photographs of the only people he can touch while in isolation–his family. With three generations contained under one roof, these photographs poetically blend the portrait and the still life, where the subjects become embedded within the quiet drama of the home. In capturing these intimate moments of grooming, cleanliness, spirituality, boredom, uncertainty and tenderness, Cerezo is reconnecting with characteristics of each family member. In Kai and Rykel the impressions of skin writing, known formally as dermatographia which is “a condition where seemingly minor scratches turn into temporary yet significant reactions”  are made visible, a kind of metaphor of our shared experience. In Online Mass, Cerezo’s lesbian aunts kneel in prayer, connecting with their catholic spirituality during a streaming of Sunday Mass. Faith becomes a source for hope, community and solace. The familiar has become an invitation to rediscover the intimate punctuations of who his family is. The camera encourages us to look deeply inward, untangle assumed knowledge and that which has been “brushed over by the speed of life.”
In each photograph there is an underlying sense of waiting–waiting for this to be over, to make plans, meet friends again, to feel safe and carefree again. These works remind the viewer of the current moment—that this is where we are, we’re still in this and in this stillness there’s space to reimagine what’s on the back of our hands.
 Strayed, Cheryl. “A Bit of Relief: Introducing Sugar Calling.” The Daily (podcast). The New York Times, April 3, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/.
 “Dermatographia.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, November 22, 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dermatographia/symptoms-causes/syc-20371411.
 Rydel Cerezo, artist’s statement, 2020.